On Oct. 11, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued interim guidance and gave a new name to the vaping illness that is being reported in hundreds of cases nationwide. According to the update, there have been 1,299 cases of e-cigarette illness in the United States as of Oct. 8. Twenty-one states have reported 26 total deaths since the crisis first emerged.
Eighty percent of the reports were among patients under 35 years of age, and 70 percent were male. In addition, the report indicates that 76 percent reported using THC-containing products, but many also used nicotine products, with 32 percent reporting the exclusive use of THC-containing products. The CDC now calls the new crisis “e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI).”
“Based on the most current data, CDC’s updated interim guidance provides a framework for health care providers in their initial assessment, evaluation, management, and follow-up of persons with symptoms of e-cigarette, or vaping, product use associated lung injury (EVALI),” the interim guidance stated.
The purpose of the interim guidance is to provide the tools for rapid recognition of EVALI and to increase their options and provide ways to reduce morbidity and mortality related to vape illness.
“Unfortunately, many more people have been hospitalized with lung injury each week,” Dr. Anne Schuchat, principal deputy director of the CDC, told reporters, reaffirming the seriousness of the matter. “I can’t stress enough the seriousness of these lung injuries associated with the use of e-cigarettes or vaping products,” she added.
The CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics is developing an ICD-10 code for doctors, insurers, and health departments to classify diagnoses related to vaping illness. A few culprits behind the root cause(s) of EVALI have been hypothetically identified, including vitamin E acetate, myclobutanil and even too much of the naturally-occurring terpene D-limonene from outside sources. But some have posed that banning regulated vaping products would increase consumer danger, as products would continue to be sold on the black market.